I spent three weeks thinking this one out.
Even till now, I’m not sure how much to put in (without unreasonably causing commotion) and how much to leave out, without sounding too economical with the truth. Let’s try- maybe like in the movies I’ll end up making everything right. Or maybe like in reality I’ll end up making a bigger fool of myself than I anticipated 😀
So, as usual the story commences in University of Abuja. I went to the FCS secretariat one sunny Wednesday in March 2009. We were having our version of the “October rush”. The older half of my readers would remember…because our education is so messed up now we don’t even have regular calendars anymore. Well where was I? Oh, October Rush.
FCS had its own name- “Operation Andrew”. We dubbed it Andrew, because Andrew saw Jesus and called his brother Peter to come meet him. So here we were, helping the freshmen get settled, fill out forms, pay fees, buy books and school stuff. The heat was so intense in Gwagwalada that we had to pack coolers full of iced water (and if we had the money, soft drinks) to refresh the newbies.
So I entered the secretariat; Greeted my Friends (Peter Ogbodo, Ameh Aruwa, and Maria Omoniyi) and one tiny Jambite in a purple top. Everyone answered me, except the bloody Jambite. I don’t understand why but at that moment I was incensed. Who was this bloody Jambite!! The nerve!!! The proverbial blood rushed to my cheeks and if I had any less melanin I’m sure my face would be, well….Black with rage. But trust my acting- I just shrugged it off.
It was the first time ever hated anyone at first sight. Oh well, there was this policeman but that doesn’t count :D.
I unconsciously started building reasons to dislike her. And I was succeeding until the next day when I went for Choir rehearsals and saw the same wench sitting on a set of plastic chairs piled high. And then our Music Director told us to say hi to someone we didn’t know. Unfortunately I was within range. It didn’t help that she was on a higher platform and had to reach down to receive the handshake (and she was a first timer!!!).
I quickly realized it would be difficult for me to be in the same choir and dislike someone. FCS choir had rehearsals twice a week (2 hours each). In church, we had a section reserved for choir members. Whenever anyone led the worship session, they had at least 3 backup singers (treble, alto and tenor). Plus there was always the 15-minute prayer before and 5-10 minutes AFTER each of the 3 weekly services. In all, I’d be spending at least 12 hours with any choir member. How would disliking them turn out? Very impossible!!!
I know it sounds funny deciding to dislike a person, but that was the hormone-driven teenager I was back then. And I naturally like people 🙂
Okay so I asked her what her name was. She said, “I’m Blessing”
Hahahahahahaha you just got more interested in what I had to say, didn’t you?
If you were my friend in the last four years, you probably have heard that name. Blessing Agah Attah. And you’re probably wondering what has possessed me to do this piece (and publish it )
But today is not a day for whining (“did I hear you say thank God”?).
Today rather is to show you how much this lady has come to mean. It’s four years now- or almost four
(just so you now, I paused here for like 1 minute to think about WHICH memory to bring up)
Okay, I remember the long walks back from Chapel of Love- Me, Henry, Blessing and Mercy. We talked about everything and about nothing. It didn’t really matter what it was.
I remember how she never really questioned me about my musical tastes. Rock back then (before Threadstone and Frank Edwards) to many Christian Nigerians I knew was for only children of the devil. But she listened to me sing and play on the guitar. And she sang faithfully along. Me, Henry Mercy, Blessing? If you let a guitar into our midst there WOULD be noise.
And this my noisy gang started exploring Casting Crowns (more like me forcefeeding them with it :D). we listened to Hillsong (I remember the only Hillsong Blessing and I ever agreed on was “forever”). I would play and whenever I got to the Key change she’d protest! (obviously we’d heard two different versions 🙂
Sometimes Henry and I would visit G9 (shout out to my Gwagz people). And we’d emerge with bags full of chocolate cake, burgers, yoghurt and coconut bread. And we’d (all four of us) sit in front of the chapel or at the Girls Hostel Common room and chow like It was someone’s birthday. Many of you thought it was weird for an FCS guy to enter girl’s hostel. But what did I care? Duh, there was a blessing in the picture! 😉
And I remember how there was this competition who would learn the other’s number first, and obviously I won. And from that day “blessing” or “peter” or “henry” became too formal. We just said “my friend”.
I remember when Henry and I entered the SUG complex on a solidarity visit. Blessing was washing her hair (and I don’t still understand why but she had to stick her head in a dryer thingy afterwards). What do you think we did? We ALL went under the dryers!! Okay I cheated, mine wasn’t turned on!
And I remember when we resumed in 2010 and she called Henry and I to come get “something” at Aluta gate. Well, it was a hot piece of cake baked by her majesty. I swear I remember it tasting really sweet but till now she maintains she didn’t add sugar. Hmmmmm!
Slowly, the person I hated at first sight started morphing into someone I wouldn’t go a week without hanging with. #LIFE!
Then tragedy struck.
One Wednesday morning henry, Adams and I were praying together when I got a text from Mercy saying that blessing lost her dad. For the first time in my life I actually felt SAD when someone died. You know, I’d been shielded from death all the while. The only person I knew that died was my grandfather (and I didn’t really get to know him). But my own world seemed to collapse. I remember I was busy struggling for accommodation but my body was vacant. I was pissed that nobody seemed to care, that life was just going on as if nothing had happened.
While she was away for the burial, she called me and she complained that we (Henry and I) didn’t love her anymore (because we weren’t calling often enough). I was horrified! I was standing in front of the NLT and for the first time in my life I was struggling to convince someone that I loved them. I don’t know if it worked, but when she got back I noticed everyone was getting cool towards each other.
Stubborn boy like me, I refused to lose my friends just like that. So I got an MTN number (the one you all have now). And I made sure I called her and mercy on alternate days. Talked about 5 minutes when possible. We learned a great deal about all of us, and for the rest of my time in school, the “daily pill” was a serious part of my day.
Sure, we did have fights. One time we argued all day and into the night (text war). It was so fundamental, so distracting that I slept off in Law of Evidence, sitting right in front of the podium! I almost got embarrassed when Barrister Ndana asked if I didn’t sleep well, if my girlfriend kept me up all night. The class roared with laughter and quickly defended me J
Through the arguments and the petty fights (yes, you probably knew some of them), I realized I had my best friend in a girl. There were fights and we wouldn’t talk to each other for days (a week was usually taking it too far heheheheheheh). But then we’d make up. She knew all the girls I crushed on (we talked THAT much), she knew whenever I got jealous, she knew when I had a bad day even if I said nothing about it. I remember she came to see me on my birthday (all the way from P-site) and when everyone saw her, they asked “that’s THE Blessing?” because she just shrank into one corner 😛
I remember the pranks she pulled (on my birthday she sent me a mouse made of icing sugar and a note that read “remember what was for valentine’s LAST year? An ugly picture and a sweet. This is REVENGE”
She taught me to NOT stare at girls, to focus on getting one thing done at a time. Even till now, some of the songs I wrote sound better with her voice than mine (are you happy, B? I said that in public! :P). She never failed to notice when I had a nice shirt on (actually anything not white was nice :D)
And she made me understand the value of friendship, for which I am grateful.
To the stubborn child we have bullied over the years, we’ve flogged into eating her meals
The one that never actually saw my band on stage
The Magic Word that made me smile unconsciously,
Happy Birthday, Blessing
Imu like you 😛